An incredible 11-part series of books, known as the Barsoom, was written during the first half of last century by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Before going any further I want to state that these books are a must read! The books are, without a doubt, brilliantly crafted classics. Last year (2011) an underwhelming movie was created focusing on the protagonist of these stories, John Carter. Disney, the creator of the $200-million flop more than recovered their lost finances with success of The Avengers.
There are many theories bouncing around about why the movie failed including people citing that it was confusing, that several characters looked and sounded alike or that it has all been seen before in other films and was, therefore, predictable. There is a degree of irony, however, to the last argument as this story was conceived and written long before the likes of Star Wars therefore making this more the disinherited grandfather of what we now know as ‘predictable.’
“John Carter tries to evoke, to reanimate, a fondly recalled universe of B-movies, pulp novels and boys’ adventure magazines. But it pursues this modest goal according to blockbuster logic, which buries the easy, scrappy pleasures of the old stuff in expensive excess. A ‘bad’ movie should not look this good.”
– A.O. Scott of The New York Times.
I think Scott’s is the best negative review – in that he defines why the film failed accurately – and actually figured out what they were trying to achieve. It really felt that every other reviewer hated on it in a hipster-style way and that it was the ‘thing to do’ which I find infuriating. If you are going to hate on something – give me a solid reason. That said, it still has a following and has its fans and, IMHO, is worth a watch at least once. When it is released on TV screens for a free viewing or you are stuck on what to snag at RedBox for $1 then I’d say, go ahead and rent with little to no cost to you. I still believe this is a misunderstood movie rather than a bad one and would watch it again. I think people had the wrong expectations – which inevitably always results with a bad feeling afterwards.
Anyway, I digress: The Blu-Ray is now out and, with it, an alternative 4-minute opening scene which was cut but I really feel is so much better than the theatrical version despite the incomplete CGI. Had this made the cut it might have gone a LONG way to helping those stuck in confusion and enable more to make sense of the premise: